The site’s editor, Matt Atchity, said it was the first time user comments had been yanked from Rotten Tomatoes but that postings would be restored by week’s end.
“The job of policing the comments became more than my staff could handle for that film, so we stopped the comments altogether,” he explained. “It just got to be too much hate based on reactions to reviews of movies that people hadn’t even seen.”
Christopher Nolan‘s epic trilogy ends Friday with The Dark Knight Rises, inarguably the biggest film of the summer co-starring Christian Bale as Batman, Tom Hardy as villain Bane and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.
Rotten Tomatoes is owned by Flixster.com, a community-based movie site owned by Warner Bros., the studio behind Dark Knight Rises.
Batman superfans are not only disputing the tone of critics’ reviews — they’re complaining about spoilers, too. After film critic Marshall Fine posted his assessment of Dark Knight Rises, he received death threats as commenters spewed venom on Rotten Tomatoes and on Fine’s website, Hollywood and Fine, causing it to crash amid the flood of traffic.
“I guess to me it crosses a line if someone shows up on my front step,” Fine said in an interview with Indiewire. Otherwise everyone’s entitled to their opinion. People have strong feelings about this stuff. Is it unfortunate that this is the way people express themselves? Well, yeah, I think it’s a measure of how powerless people feel in this society in general. Here’s their chance to get their rocks off at someone they don’t know.”
According to the AP, Rotten Tomatoes could switch to a commenting system like on Facebook, where anonymous posts are curtailed.
“We may do away with comments completely or get to a place where comments are only activated after a movie opens,” he said.
Thus far, Dark Knight Rises has scored an 87 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes despite Fine’s critique of the movie as “nonsensical” and other unflattering reviews.